New transparent, foldable material could be the future of e-paper



Oji Holdings Corporation and Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation have succeeded in inventing a roll of robust and transparent film-like paper. This type of paper is the first of its kind and could potentially be used as foldable e-paper for pocket-size digital books.

The transparent material uses cellulose nanofiber created by pulverizing plant fiber so thin that it measures 1/20000 of a single hair. The biggest challenge was to strain these ultra-thin cellulose nanofibers with traditional paper machines. The resulting paper can be bent and folded, and it is also resistant to heat, which means there is potential for the material to be used in large displays.

The two groups are working at a dedicated pilot plant in Tokyo in an attempt to commercialize the product by the year 2016. Their efforts began in September of 2010, combining the chemical processing and paper manufacturing technologies possessed by the two companies. It’s exciting to think about what kind of new products could come about using such a technology.